Soutrik was successful in JEE 2020 (Mains) and was qualified and eligible to appear in JEE (Advanced), 2020. He scored Rank 4015. He secured admission in Chemical Engineering at IIT Kharagpur. Soutrik had also been offered B.S. (Mathematics) in IIT Bombay through a separate admission process based on his performance in Mathematics Olympiad. IIT alleges, at time of admission to B.S. (Mathematics) in IIT Bombay, Soutrik did not disclose he had accepted admission in IIT Kharagpur in Chemical Engineering. Strangely, on 20.11.2020, Soutrik paid admission fee for IIT Kharagpur, got his documents verified, studiously maintaining silence about pursuing B.S. (Mathematics) from IIT Bombay, from 09.11.2020.
Soutrik wished to appear in JEE 2021 to secure admission of his choice. But, eligibility criteria for appearing in JEE (Advanced) 2021 prevented him from doing so. Soutrik could not compete in JEE (Advanced) 2021 as he got himself admitted in IIT Kharagpur in 2020. He approached Court, complaining arbitrariness and also challenging concerned eligibility criteria.
Court has repeatedly emphasized, in matters such as devising admissions criteria or other issues engaging academic institutions, Courts’ scrutiny in judicial review has to be careful and circumspect [Basavaiah (Dr.) v. Dr. H.L. Ramesh, (2010) 8 SCC 372; All India Council for Technical Education v. Surinder Kumar Dhawan, (2009) 11 SCC 726].
Court is of opinion, it is an error in holding, exclusion of a candidate who secures admission but does not opt out of it and virtually abandons it, as in case of Soutrik, from participating in subsequent JEE (Advanced) is arbitrary.
See, Criteria No. 5 of JEE (Advanced) Information Brochure, 2020. Also, securing a seat in any one of 23 IITs stands on a different footing than securing a seat in non-IIT institutions.
– Hon’ble Jutice S. Ravindra Bhat, IIT Kharagpur v. Soutrik Sarangi, [Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 13920 of 2021].
It is to note, Soutrik features on this list, published on 09.07.2021.